Here’s the thing about slumps: everyone has them, from professional athletes to artists and CEOs to students. 

Yet we talk about slumps as if they are some sort of anomaly. That needs to change — particularly in talent acquisition. With so many variables at play, it’s nearly impossible to win at recruiting constantly; that’s the reality of a human-driven business. 

To cope with recruiting slumps, first recognize that they are natural and normal. And the next time you find yourself in a slump, here’s how to get out of it.

Find out where you’re connecting

If you keep doing the same things, nothing will change. But if you take stock of what’s useful and what’s not, you’ll find out what needs to be done. 

Think about the study of baseball statistics (known as Sabermetrics — check out Indeed’s interview with Billy Beane here). Players are assigned a batting average based on their number of hits divided by the number of at-bats. 

Interestingly, there are plenty of Hall of Fame players who hit the ball only 25 percent of the time they bat. 

Now, this is not to say that recruiters need hiring averages — quite the opposite. 

Instead, consider the work that baseball players put in to raise their average and get out of a slump. They might review videos of their batting to see where they’re connecting and missing the ball. 

The same goes for recruiting: Examine each step of the hiring process to see where you’re connecting with candidates and where you’re losing them. Then double down on the points of connection to improve results.

Test variables one by one

Once a baseball player knows what’s going on with their batting, they’ll pick just one variable to focus on improving, rather than trying to tackle all of them at once. 

To start, they might adjust their stance; then they may tweak their grip; finally, they could alter their swing, experimenting with each variable until they get it right. Instead of changing everything, they work to overcome the slump bit by bit.   

Similarly, you can tweak aspects of the recruiting process to see how it impacts your outcomes. 

Maybe you're not candidate-centric enough, letting qualified talent wonder where they stand. Perhaps your outreach emails or job descriptions need rewording. 

Look closely at the parts of the process where you’re missing connections, then pick a variable to control for and test. It might be as easy as communicating more frequently with candidates about where they stand and next steps.

Take a proactive approach

Slumps will come and go, but as you understand and take ownership of the situation, you’ll begin to see the signs of potential slowdowns. 

This level of self-awareness will allow you to take preventive measures in the future. 

This may involve reevaluating your tech stack to ensure it’s not getting in the way, reconnecting with hiring managers to reconfigure your relationship and the like. 

Ultimately, getting out of a slump takes introspection, analysis and effort. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by feelings of doubt: Bookmark this post and refer back if and when a slump happens again. 

Coping with these slowdowns requires recognition and self-forgiveness — then tackling the issue head-on.


William Tincup is the President of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Indeed.